Article VI, Alabama Constitution
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| Text of Section 139:
Vesting of Judicial Power; Minimum Standards for Establishment of Courts of General Jurisdiction in Counties
The judicial power of the state shall be vested in the senate sitting as a court of impeachment, a supreme court, circuit courts, chancery courts, courts of probate, such courts of law and equity inferior to the supreme court, and to consist of not more than five members, as the legislature from time to time may establish, and such persons as may be by law invested with powers of a judicial nature; but no court of general jurisdiction, at law or in equity, or both, shall hereafter be established in and for any one county having a population of less than twenty thousand, according to the next preceding federal census, and property assessed for taxation at a less valuation than three million five hundred thousand dollars.
| Text of Section 140:
Jurisdiction of Supreme Court Generally; Power of Supreme Court to Issue Certain Remedial and Original Writs
Except in cases otherwise directed in this Constitution, the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction only, which shall be coextensive with the state, under such restrictions and regulations, not repugnant to this Constitution, as may from time to time be prescribed by law, except where jurisdiction over appeals is vested in some inferior court, and made final therein; provided, that the supreme court shall have power to issue writs of injunction, habeas corpus, quo warranto, and such other remedial and original writs as may be necessary to give it a general superintendence and control of inferior jurisdictions.
| Text of Section 141:
Place of Holding Supreme Court
The supreme court shall be held at the seat of government, but if that shall become dangerous from any cause, it may convene at or adjourn to another place.
| Text of Section 142:
Division of State into Circuits; Residency Requirements for Circuit Judges
Except as otherwise authorized in this article, the state shall be divided into convenient circuits. For each circuit there shall be chosen a judge, who shall for one year next preceding his election and during his continuance in office, reside in the circuit for which he is elected.
| Text of Section 143:
Jurisdiction of Circuit Courts
The circuit court shall have original jurisdiction in all matters civil and criminal within the state not otherwise excepted in this Constitution; but in civil cases, other than suits for libel, slander, assault and battery, and ejectment, it shall have no original jurisdiction except where the matter or sum in controversy exceeds fifty dollars.
| Text of Section 144:
When and Where Circuit Courts to Be Held; Circuit Judges May Hold Court for Each Other; Power of Circuit Judges to Issue Writs of Injunction Returnable to Courts of Chancery
A circuit court, or a court having the jurisdiction of the circuit court, shall be held in each county in the state at least twice in every year, and judges of the several courts mentioned in this section may hold court for each other when they deem it expedient, and shall do so when directed by law. The judges of the several courts mentioned in this section shall have power to issue writs of injunction, returnable to the courts of chancery, or courts having the jurisdiction of courts of chancery.
| Text of Section 145:
Authority to Establish Courts of Chancery; Division of State into Chancery Divisions; Districts within Chancery Divisions; Residency Requirements for Chancellor
The legislature shall have power to establish a court or courts of chancery, with original and appellate jurisdiction, except as otherwise authorized in this article. The state shall be divided by the legislature into convenient chancery divisions; each division shall be divided into districts, and for each division there shall be a chancellor, who shall have resided in the division for which he shall be elected or appointed, for one year next preceding his election or appointment, and shall reside therein during his continuance in office.
| Text of Section 146:
When and Where Chancery Courts to Be Held; Chancellors May Hold Court for Each Other
A chancery court, or a court having the jurisdiction of the chancery court, shall be held in each district, at a place to be fixed by law, at least twice in each year, and the chancellors may hold court for each other when they deem it necessary, and shall do so when directed by law.
| Text of Section 147:
Certain Counties Need Not Be Included in Circuit or Chancery Divisions; Minimum Number of Counties in Circuit or Chancery Divisions
Any county having a population of twenty thousand or more, according to the next preceding federal census, and also taxable property of three million five hundred thousand dollars or more in value, according to the next preceding assessment of property for state and county taxation, need not be included in any circuit or chancery division; but if the value of its taxable property shall be reduced below that limit, or if its population shall be reduced below that number, the legislature shall include such county in a circuit and chancery division, or either, embracing more than one county. No circuit or chancery division shall contain less than three counties, unless there be embraced therein a county having a population of twenty thousand or more, and taxable property of three million five hundred thousand dollars or more in value.
| Text of Section 148:
Legislature May Confer Jurisdiction of Circuit and Chancery Court on Either Court; Consolidation of Courts in Counties Having Two or More Courts of Record
The legislature may confer upon the circuit court or the chancery court the jurisdiction of both of said courts. In counties having two or more courts of record, the legislature may provide for the consolidation of all or any such courts of record, except the probate court, with or without separate divisions, and a sufficient number of judges for the transaction of the business of such consolidated court.
| Text of Section 149:
Legislature May Establish Court of Probate in Each County; Powers Generally of Probate Courts
The legislature shall have power to establish in each county a court of probate, with general jurisdiction of orphans' business and with power to grant letters testamentary and of administration; provided, that whenever any court having equity powers has taken jurisdiction of the settlement of any estate, it shall have power to do all things necessary for the settlement of such estate, including the appointment and removal of administrators, executors, guardians, and trustees and including action upon the resignation of either of them.
| Text of Section 150:
Compensation and Restrictions on Holding Other Offices for Supreme Court Justices, Chancellors and Judges of Circuit and Other Courts of Record, Except Probate Judges
The justices of the supreme court, chancellors, and the judges of the circuit courts and other courts of record, except probate courts, shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation which shall not be diminished during their official terms; they shall receive no fees or perquisites, nor hold any office, except judicial offices, of profit or trust under this state or the United States, or any other government, during the term for which they have been elected or appointed.
| Text of Section 151:
Composition of Supreme Court
The supreme court shall consist of one chief justice and such number of associate justices as may be prescribed by law.
| Text of Section 152:
Election of Supreme Court Justices, Judges of Circuit Courts, Judges of Probate Courts and Chancellors
The chief justice and associate justices of the supreme court, judges of the circuit courts, judges of probate courts, and chancellors shall be elected by the qualified electors of the state, circuits, counties, and chancery divisions, for which such courts may be established, at such times as may be prescribed by law, except as herein otherwise provided.
| Text of Section 153:
Election or Appointment of Judges of Inferior Courts
The judges of such inferior courts of law and equity as may be by law established, shall be elected or appointed in such mode as the legislature may prescribe.
| Text of Section 154:
Qualifications of Chancellors and Judges of Courts of Record
Chancellors and judges of all courts of record shall have been citizens of the United States and of this state for five years next preceding their election or appointment, and shall be not less than twenty-five years of age, and, except judges of probate courts, shall be learned in the law.
| Text of Section 155:
Terms of Office of Supreme Court Justices, Chancellors and Judges of Circuit and Probate Courts
Except as otherwise provided in this article, the chief justice and associate justices of the supreme court, circuit judges, chancellors, and judges of probate, shall hold office for the term of six years, and until their successors are elected or appointed, and qualified; and the right of such judges and chancellors to hold their offices for the full term hereby prescribed shall not be affected by any change hereafter made by law in any circuit, division, or county, or in the mode or time of election.
| Text of Section 156:
Time of Holding Election for Supreme Court Justices; Staggered Terms of Office for Supreme Court Justices
The chief justice and associate justices of the supreme court shall be chosen at an election to be held at the time and places fixed by law for the election of members of the house of representatives of the congress of the United States, until the legislature shall by law change the time of holding such election. The term of office of the chief justice, who shall be elected in the year nineteen hundred and four, shall be as provided in the last preceding section. The successors of two of the associate justices elected in the year nineteen hundred and four shall be elected in the year nineteen hundred and six, and the successors of the other two associate justices elected in nineteen hundred and four shall be elected in the year nineteen hundred and eight. The associate justices of said court elected in the year nineteen hundred and four shall draw or cast lots among themselves to determine which of them shall hold office for the terms ending, respectively, in the years nineteen hundred and six and nineteen hundred and eight, and until their respective successors are elected or appointed and qualified. The result of such determination shall be certified to the governor, by such associate justices, or a majority of them, prior to the first day of January, nineteen hundred and five, and such certificate shall be entered upon the minutes of the court. In the event of the failure of said associate justices to make and certify such determination, the governor shall designate the terms for which they shall respectively hold office, as above provided, and shall issue his proclamation accordingly. In the event of an increase or reduction by law of the number of associate justices of the supreme court, the legislature shall, as nearly as may be, provide for the election, each second year, of one-third of the members of said court.
| Text of Section 157:
Judicial Officers Conservators of the Peace
All judicial officers within their respective jurisdictions shall, by virtue of their offices, be conservators of the peace.
| Text of Section 158:
Vacancies in Office of Supreme Court Justices, Elected Judges and Chancellors
Vacancies in the office of any of the justices of the supreme court or judges who hold office by election, or chancellors of this state, shall be filled by appointment by the governor. The appointee shall hold his office until the next general election for any state officer held at least six months after the vacancy occurs, and until his successor is elected and qualified; the successor chosen at such election shall hold office for the unexpired term and until his successor is elected and qualified.
| Text of Section 159:
Initial Appointment or Election of Judges or Chancellors for Newly Created Circuits or Chancery Divisions
Whenever any new circuit or chancery division is created the judge or chancellor therefor shall be elected at the next general election for any state officer for a term to expire at the next general election for circuit judge and chancellors; provided, that if said new circuit or chancery division is created more than six months before such general election for any state officer, the governor shall appoint some one as judge or chancellor, as the case may be, to hold the office until such election.
| Text of Section 160:
Procedure when Judge or Chancellor Incompetent to Try, Hear or Render Judgment in Case
If in any case, civil or criminal, pending in any circuit court, chancery court, or in any court of general jurisdiction having any part of the jurisdiction of a circuit and a chancery court, or either of them in this state, the presiding judge or chancellor shall, for any legal cause, be incompetent to try, hear, or render judgment in such case, the parties, or their attorneys of record, if it be a civil case, or the solicitor or prosecuting officer, and the defendant or defendants, if it be a criminal case, may agree upon some disinterested person practicing in the court and learned in the law, to act as a special judge or chancellor to sit as a court, and to hear, decide, and render judgment in the same manner and to the same effect as such incompetent chancellor or judge could have rendered but for such incompetency. If the case be a civil one, and the parties or their attorneys of record do not agree; or if it be a criminal one, and the prosecuting officer and the defendant or defendants do not agree upon a special judge or chancellor, or if either party in a civil cause is not represented in court, the register in chancery or the clerk of such circuit or other court in which said cause is pending, shall appoint a special judge or chancellor, who shall preside, try, and render judgment as in this section provided. The legislature may prescribe other methods for supplying special judges in such cases.
| Text of Section 161:
Failure of Judges or Chancellors to Attend Regular Terms of Court
The legislature shall have power to provide for the holding of chancery and circuit courts, and for the holding of courts having the jurisdiction of circuit and chancery courts, or either of them, when the chancellors or judges thereof fail to attend regular terms.
| Text of Section 162:
Judges of Courts of Record Not to Practice Law
No judge of any court of record in this state shall practice law in any of the courts of this state or of the United States.
| Text of Section 163:
Appointment, Qualifications, Terms of Office and Compensation of Registers in Chancery; Fees of Registers of Chancery to Be Uniform Throughout State
Registers in chancery shall be appointed by the chancellors of the respective divisions, and shall have been at least twelve months before their appointment, and shall be at the time of their appointment and during their continuance in office, resident citizens of the district for which they are appointed. They shall hold office for the term for which the chancellor making such appointment was elected or appointed. Such registers shall receive as compensation for their services only such fees and commissions as may be specifically prescribed by law, which fees shall be uniform throughout the state.
| Text of Section 164:
Apportionment and Term of Office of Clerk of Supreme Court; Selection of Clerks of Inferior Courts
The clerk of the supreme court shall be appointed by the judges thereof, and shall hold office for the term of six years; and the clerks of such inferior courts as may be established by law shall be selected in such manner as the legislature may provide.
| Text of Section 165:
Election and Term of Office of Clerks of Circuit Courts; Clerk May Serve as Register in Chancery; Filling of Vacancies in Office of Clerk
Clerks of the circuit court shall be elected by the qualified electors in each county for the term of six years, and may, when appointed by the chancellor, also fill the office of register in chancery. Vacancies in such office of clerk shall be filled by the judge of the circuit court for the unexpired term.
| Text of Section 166:
Removal of Clerk of Supreme Court and Registers in Chancery
The clerk of the supreme court and registers in chancery may be removed from office by the justices of the supreme court, and by the chancellors, respectively, for cause, to be entered at length upon the minutes of the court.
| Text of Section 167:
Election, Qualifications, Terms of Office and Compensation of Circuit Solicitors; Appointment or Election of County Solicitors
A solicitor for each judicial circuit or other territorial subdivision prescribed by the legislature, shall be elected by the qualified electors of those counties in such circuit or other territorial subdivision in which such solicitor prosecutes criminal cases, and such solicitor shall be learned in the law, and shall at the time of his election and during his continuance in office, reside in a county (in the circuit) in which he prosecutes criminal cases, or other territorial subdivision for which he is elected, and his term of office shall be for four years, and he shall receive no other compensation than a salary, to be prescribed by law, which shall not be increased during the term for which he was elected; provided, that this article shall not operate to abridge the term of any solicitor now in office; and, provided further, that the solicitors elected in the year nineteen hundred and four shall hold office for six years, and until their successors are elected and qualified; and, provided further, that the legislature may provide by law for the appointment by the governor or the election by the qualified electors of a county of a solicitor for any county.
| Text of Section 168:
Election of Justices of the Peace and Constables; Jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace; Fees of Justices of the Peace and Constables; Appeals from Justices of the Peace; Terms of Office of Justices of the Peace and Notaries Public; Appointment of Notaries Public
Election of justices of the peace and constables; jurisdiction of justices of the peace; fees of justices of the peace and constables; appeals from justices of the peace; terms of office of justices of the peace and notaries public; appointment of notaries public.
In each precinct not lying within, or partly within, any city or incorporated town of more than fifteen hundred inhabitants, there shall be elected by the qualified electors of such precinct not exceeding two justices of the peace, and one constable. Where one or more precincts lie within, or partly within, a city or incorporated town having more than fifteen hundred inhabitants, the legislature may provide by law for the election of not more than two justices of the peace and one constable, for each of such precincts, or an inferior court for such precinct or precincts, in lieu of all justices of the peace therein. Justices of the peace, and the inferior courts in this section provided for, shall have jurisdiction in all civil cases where the amount in controversy does not exceed one hundred dollars, except in cases of libel, slander, assault and battery, and ejectment. The legislature may provide by law what fees may be charged by justices of the peace and constables, which fees shall be uniform throughout the state. The right of appeal from any judgment of a justice of the peace, or from any inferior court authorized by this section, without the prepayment of costs, and also the term of office of such justices, and of the judges of such inferior courts, and of notaries public, shall be provided for by law. The governor may appoint notaries public without the powers of a justice of the peace, and may, except where otherwise provided by an act of the legislature, appoint not more than one notary public with all of the powers and jurisdiction of a justice of the peace for each precinct in which the election of justices of the peace shall be authorized.
| Text of Section 169:
Exclusion of Persons from Courtroom in Cases of Rape and Assault with Intent to Ravish
In all prosecutions for rape and assault with intent to ravish, the court may, in its discretion, exclude from the courtroom all persons, except such as may be necessary in the conduct of the trial.
| Text of Section 170:
Style of All Processes
The style of all processes shall be "The State of Alabama," and all prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by the authority of the same, and shall conclude "against the peace and dignity of the state."
| Text of Section 171:
Authority of Legislature to Abolish Courts when Function Conferred upon Some Other Court
The legislature shall have the power to abolish any court, except the supreme court and the probate courts, whenever its jurisdiction and functions have been conferred upon some other court.
| Text of Section 172:
Terms of Office of Incumbents Not Abridged
Nothing in this article shall be so construed as to abridge the term of office of any officer now in office.